Medical Advances for Hearing Loss Treatment
Patricia E. Connelly, PhD, CCC-A, FAAA, New Jersey Medical School, NEWARK, NJ
Between 5% and 10% of people with hearing loss are not candidates for hearing aids. When conventional amplification does not help, there may be alternative approaches to the treatment of hearing loss as illustrated by the following examples. A medical consultation is necessary, preferably by a physician who is Board Certified in Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.
- Severe hearing loss or deafness. When hearing aids cannot effectively amplify conversational speech a cochlear implant evaluation should be considered.
- Otosclerosis. Fixation of the hearing bones or Otosclerosis and the hearing loss it causes may respond favorably to a surgical procedure called a stapedectomy.
- Impacted cerumen. Removal of ear wax may result in reversal of the hearing loss. Some audiologists are trained in the procedure.
- Ear infections. The treatment of ear infections is important for the restoration of good health to the ears and may restore hearing. Treatment usually is with antibiotics or by draining fluid behind the eardrum.
- Acoustic neuroma. This is a tumor that grows on the nerve of hearing and balance. Surgery may be necessary.
- Atresia and Microtia. A bone-conduction hearing aid or a surgically implanted bone-anchored hearing aid may improve hearing.
- Unilateral deafness. Several options may be helpful including: trans-cranial fitting, bone-anchored hearing aid, CROS hearing system, or assistive listening devices. A comprehensive audiological evaluation is essential.
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